O my brothers, the ͑abā ͑ah was only established to conceal (the woman) and it was not established for adornment; it is not a garment of adornment. It is impermissible for it to be taken as a means of adornment, to be embroidered, to place designs/drawings upon it or to adjust it to have arms and thus become like a thawb (the gown worn by Muslim men).
[Q]: In recent times, an ʿabā ͑ah (A woman’s outer garment), which is being referred to as the Islamic ͑abā ͑ah, has become widespread. It is placed upon the head1 but it has sleeves from the arms to the shoulders. What is your eminence’s opinion about wearing these types of outer garments?
[A]: ‘O my brothers, the ʿabā ͑ah was only established to conceal (the woman) and it was not established for adornment; it is not a garment of adornment. It is impermissible for it to be taken as a means of adornment, to be embroidered, to place designs/drawings upon it or to adjust it to have arms and thus become like a thawb (the gown worn by Muslim men). This would not be considered an ʿabā ͑ah and it would become like a thawb.
The sole purpose of the ʿabā ͑ah is for the woman to cover [correctly]. It should conceal her whole body like the large loose outer garment which is [known as] the Jilbāb. The intent behind it is to conceal the woman and it is not meant for adornment. Rather, it should conceal her adornments in front of [strange] males. It is not allowable to make [impermissible changes] to the ʿabāʿāt [plural of ʿabā ͑ah] and to then call them Islamic.2 This is an effort to promote them [i.e. improve sales] as they are not Islamic; this is only to promote them as the Islamic outer garment [ʿabā ͑ah] is the one that is concealing, spacious, thick [i.e. not thin and transparent] and lacking any designs, embroidery and adornment. It should be plain and simple like this [the shaykh appeared to be pointing at something plain]; it should not have anything on it. Yes.
 [TN] Sadly, many of the ʿabā ͑ahs that are worn today do not even start from the head but are worn on the shoulders. Insha Allāh, in the coming weeks we will translate some of the verdicts of the scholars concerning this along with the proofs and evidence. By Allāh, this a trap from the Shayṭān to lure our noble sisters into the trap of tabarruj (may Allāh bless and preserve them).  [TN] This is a piece of beautiful advice that should be heeded by those who sell women’s clothing; they should be extremely careful what they sell as some garments are designed to be purposely tight and others are examples of what the Shaykh has stated are impermissible. Laxity in this area has even plagued some of those who ascribe to the Sunnah in the West. May Allāh guide the Muslims and allow them to implement the Qurʾān and the Sunnah as practiced by the companions.